Week 4 of the Lupus Diet

What a roller coaster this has turned out to be. Who would have thought it would be so difficult emotionally to give up animal proteins? But of course it just isn't that simple, it's about totally changing habitual ways of eating as a family and having to reinvent new recipes each day, it's no wonder it's so exhausting and time consuming.

I am incredibly lucky that I have a head-start as it were, as my husband works for an organic whole foods company, so good food comes cheaply (or affordable at least) to us due to his discount and the store and warehouse. Goodness knows what it would be like for someone starting this diet from scratch, with no knowledge of good sugar free alternatives to jam and cakes, no access to tasty gluten free breads and pastas, no knowledge of alternative grains like Quinoa, and no salt free and yeast free stock cubes for example. It's really challenging for me, but at least I am aware of this much! Besides, as well as growing lots of fruit, salads and veg in my garden, I've also been wheat free since 2006, when I also was on a dairy free, yeast free, sugar free diet due to my diagnosis of ME. So I know a trick or two, but despite this I've still been close to a total meltdown!!

What is so challenging, is the fact that it's such a strict diet and I have a tendency to try really hard to get things right, but I have a threshold for how much trying I can do. When I reach this threshold, I have to let something drop. Over the weekend I reached that threshold. I can't be a 'goodie-two shoes' for too long without sabotaging myself!

I was beginning to feel like I was going crazy last week, as everything this I ate made me feel sick and I was fast developing an eating disorder with thoughts like “All food is making me sick therefore I need to stop eating altogether”. I lost weight as I was only consuming very small portions and drinking juice and smoothies. When my mother came to help me out she said I looked starved...and I was! I finally snapped when a needy neighbour texted me with another request to borrow something (it's something she does a lot) and I gave her a rude text back -I really let out my anger at her!! It's not something I normally do, I usually try to contain my anger but this time I let rip!!

What shifted things for me was that I bought HC1 (a hydrochloric acid supplement to give me more stomach acid) recommended by my Nutritional Therapist, and she also suggested I stop worrying about anyone else's advice and listened only to her. I am now able to comfortably digest solid food in the right sized portions so I no longer feel starved! Hurray!

I'm now feeling less overwhelmed and I've got a few recipes that I can rely on when brain fog sets in. Also my husband is getting quite into making contraband meals for him and the kids (today it was organic burger in a bun) so that I only need worry about feeding myself. This is working out OK for now.

We also decided not to go away camping -that was going to be a step too far especially now the weather has turned so wet!

My advice to anyone considering this diet would be to pay ££££ to go away to a specialist retreat center where they can monitor your food program for you, while teaching you good recipes for when you get home. Or if this isn't an option (I wish I'd been able to afford it!) do it very slowly yourself in baby steps; you could start by giving up dairy and finding alternatives that work for you, then when this has become habitual, move onto the next thing; like giving up gluten... and then going on from there.

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  • Thanks so much for your update! It sounds like you have found some peace which is great :-) I agree that diet/nutrition can be confusing, I sometimes find it a challenge and I am a registered nutritionist with a Masters degree in nutritional medicine....I think part of the problem is that food is often so closely linked to emotions and comfort etc. I think support is really helpful for anyone changing their diet/lifestyle

    What I find very sad is that there is not more information available to lupus sufferers. I have written a bit about it and wrote an article for the Cambridgeshire lupus group newsletter which was well received (this is available free on my website).

    I find it disappointing that many of the medical doctors don't seem to know about the evidence, which is published in the medical journals. There are some doctors, like the lupus specialist Prof Graham Huges, who certainly think diet is important (Prof Hughes has communicated with me via email).

    It is important that people get help from registered professionals if they want to change their diet in a big way and if they want to take supplements it is essential to check with a doctor first.

    Here is a resource if anyone wants to find a UK registered nutritionist:

    associationfornutrition.org...

    Thanks again for your updates, it's great to hear how you're getting on!

    Wishing you well

    Ani x

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